In this episode, the good news is that the weird nihilistic Jeri is actually the first agent in disguise. The bad news is that only D-Reaper knows where the real nihilistic Jeri is.
Oh my God! That Jeri with the creepy smile, strange rants and an eye for nutritional data wasn't really Jeri? Stunning, I know! Five episodes after the big swap, the Jeri-Type agent makes its proper debut in impressive fashion. Sometimes infiltrating the good guys results in a quick backstab and instant gloating (such as the buzzkill to end all buzzkills in Hunters). Jeri-Type's not that nice. Instead, it makes the revelation as torturous as possible.
In hindsight, Jeri-Type wasn't even all that secretive about its mission. When Takato and Kazu had first discovered it, it was able to pass itself off as Jeri only because Jeri was so far gone that the other tamers were beyond questioning her behavior. Never mind that Jeri went from depressed and pessimistic to silent and mechanical, just going through the motions during the big rescue. All that mattered was that she still wasn't back to normal; new symptoms didn't tip off a change in disease.
The mastery of this agent is that it found a function even after its primary purpose was fulfilled. After hitching a ride home from the tamers, hearing Takato pour his heart out on the train, getting a feel for Jeri's family and surveying West Shinjuku on foot, Jeri-Type had obtained all the information D-Reaper needed from it. But instead of joining the front lines, it uses its surveillance against the tamers, attacking Takato's heart as attacks on Gallantmon's body become less successful. With no need to remain secret, D-Reaper grabs Gallantmon and pulls him into the belly of the beast to reveal Jeri-Type under its own terms.
What follows is a systematic mind screw as Jeri-Type draws out its unveiling to make the scene as painful as possible for Takato. Takato is in full denial here, even as Jeri-Type makes it more and more clear that it's not Jeri, going so far as to deconstruct her Jeri appearance into a grotesque and inhuman interpretation of the girl. He still refuses to believe that it isn't her.
It's a typically Takato reaction. He can't imagine that this isn't Jeri because the implications of it are far worse. To accept that it isn't Jeri would be to accept that the real Jeri is captive, dead or still wandering alone in the Digital World. The thought of that would be too much for the poor kid. No matter how obvious it becomes and even after Guilmon figures it out, Takato can't handle the truth. The combination of his eternal optimism and his caring for Jeri means that reality would break him. Which is exactly why D-Reaper does it.
Takato's denial fits in perfectly with D-Reaper's analysis that humans are illogical creatures. All the evidence is overwhelming and this boy is still wandering the (ever-thinning) forest. Its extreme logic becomes the perfect weapon, explaining that Jeri's despair made her and D-Reaper compatible, her downward spiral providing a nice blueprint for humanity's destruction.
D-Reaper's analysis of humans are that they are disorderly creatures with no respect for boundaries, defying the limits of their evolution, thus making them ripe for deletion. It's a strange paradox that D-Reaper is offended by humanity's thirst to grow, while also decrying their compassion and willingness to sacrifice themselves for their loved ones. Feels like a missed opportunity not to show Kazu, Kenta and Suzie rushing into the battle on that note.
The most frightening part about D-Reaper is that it's only doing what it was designed to do. It doesn't get happy. It doesn't get sad. It just runs program!
My Grade: A-
- The moments are rather self-explanatory, but the introspection each of the tamers have before they bio-merge was well done. There wasn't much need for the cliffhanger as it was pretty obvious Dobermon's sacrifice would work, so to throw this in was appreciated. While it's mostly about each of the kids' resolve, it does throw in some backstory like Henry using his martial arts to hurt somebody. In keeping with the theme that each of the three come from a different place, they overcome something different- Henry's need to restrain himself, Rika's new feeling of protecting someone else and Takato dealing with the immense pressure that comes with the job.
- It's probably a good thing that their families are able to watch the battle unfold on TV, but it's gotta be rough on their stomachs.
- A big deal is made about Rumiko being such a young mother, but can anyone honestly say that Kazu's mom looks any older? She could pass for his older sister!
- It's kinda sad that with Janyuu and Mayumi out of town, Jaarin has to be the “family representative” when Suzie follows Lopmon into the breach. Although the sight of Antylamon suddenly walking down the street makes up for it.
- Jeri-Type mentions that the organic life in the park is hard for D-Reaper to digest, but as the conversation with Takato continues, the trees gradually wither and die.